Dean Devlin (‘The Librarians’) on directing David Tennant in the Portland-set ‘Bad Samaritan’

Need more proof that Portland is a hot destination? This fall, “Doctor Who” will be in town.

Specifically, David Tennant — the gifted Scottish actor who won a devoted following for playing the Tenth Doctor on the cult-favorite U.K. sci-fi series — is coming to Portland to make a movie.

As announced in August, Tennant will star in the Portland-filmed “Bad Samaritan,” a thriller that will be directed by Dean Devlin.

Portland is familiar territory for Devlin, whose company, Electric Entertainment, shot “Leverage” here, and over the summer, filmed Season 3 of “The Librarians” for TNT in the Portland area.

Portland was foremost in Devlin’s mind when he read Brandon Boyce’s script for “Bad Samaritan,” as Devlin recalled in a recent phone interview.

“Brandon Boyce is an old, dear friend of mine and he called me a while back and said he had just written a script, and wanted me to read it,” Devlin says.

Devlin loved what he read, but the story took place in Los Angeles. And having spent so much time in Portland, Devlin says, he wondered if the Rose City might be a better location.

“So, I brought Brandon up to Portland,” Devlin says. “He’d never been to Portland before, and like everybody, he fell in love with Oregon.”

Moving the “Bad Samaritan” story to Portland appealed to Devlin, he says, because Portland “provides opportunities for a creepier, more interesting, more scary film.”

Boyce, who also wrote the movies “Apt Pupil” and “Wicker Park,” was convinced, Devlin says. “He rewrote the whole film to take place in Oregon.”

“Bad Samaritan” is, Devlin says, a story about young valet parkers who work at a restaurant. “They’ve come up with a little scam to take things from people while they’re at the restaurant, if they live close by. But they break into the wrong house, and a lot of bad things start to happen, and it escalates, and it keeps escalating and gets more scary.”

Asked what he can say about the character Tennant plays, Devlin replies, “I can’t tell you anything about it,” and laughs. “But David is going to bring a level of intensity that’s going to really ratchet up the drama.”

Tennant has passionate fans thanks to his time starring in “Doctor Who,” from 2005 to 2010. But he’s also given memorable performances in the British drama, “Broadchurch” (as well as its less successful U.S. version, “Gracepoint”) and the Netflix series “Jessica Jones,” among other roles.

Devlin’s a Tennant fan, too.

“He’s something else, and when I met him, it was so hard to not fanboy the entire time,” Devlin says. “David is such an amazingly talented and gifted actor that he brings so many colors, and so much range to his roles. There were episodes of ‘Dr. Who,’ for example, where he was hilarious, and episodes where he rips your heart out. He’s amazingly versatile.”

Devlin is looking forward to filming “Bad Samaritan” in Portland, even though the two-month production schedule begins later this year, which will guarantee rainy, cold weather. “That’s perfect for the moodiness of the script,” Devlin says. “We’re hoping for a cold winter.”

Beyond the gloomy skies, Portland and the surrounding area works for “Bad Samaritan” because, Devlin says, “Portland has all the accoutrements of a big city, but the heart and soul of it is a small town, so that creates an intimacy in a large environment. Part of the story is a personal secret gets out, and people get very upset. In Los Angeles, something like that could get lost. But in Portland, it’s a really big deal.”

Portland’s proximity to nature is also a plus for “Bad Samaritan,” Devlin says, because “there’s a portion of the film that takes place in the mountains, and the forests nearby.”

Devlin doesn’t yet know how many Portland-area crew members or actors will be hired to work on “Bad Samaritan,” but he says, “I’ve been working up there now for eight years, and most of the people I work with are local people. I love my crew, and I love the talent base up there. This is a modest budget for a movie, so we need to use as many local people as possible.”

The pool of talent in Portland is part of the reason Devlin likes filming here, he says. “In Portland, there are so many trained artists and technicians, there’s an enormous talent base. And it’s not like second-stringers. The person painting your set, or picking your costumes, they’re all top people. And there are so many great actors living in Portland now.”

Devlin also says the incentives offered to media production – which include rebates on 20 percent of Oregon-based goods and services — are important.

“It’s a good deal for Oregonians,” Devlin says, “because they don’t pay you anything until after you’ve spent your money.” Devlin wishes there was more money available for Oregon media production incentives. “I’ve made over $300 million dollars’ worth of movies in the last two years, and I would have done all of them in Oregon is there wasn’t a cap” on incentive funds available. “One was in Louisiana, one was in New Mexico,” both states with large film incentive budgets. “I would have preferred to do both movies in Oregon.”

For now, Devlin says, he’ll be happy to be film “Bad Samaritan” in Oregon. “I haven’t done a thriller before, so that felt challenging,” he says. “I love the script, and I can’t wait to make it. Hopefully, I will serve it well.”

 

Original article can be seen HERE.